By Tim Chambers
And then there were none.
It didn’t take long for the District 1 girl’s team to fall by the wayside in regional tournament play. League champion Sullivan East went down in the first round at home to Chuckey-Doak. Elizabethton and Unicoi went the same route with all three losing rather handily.
Happy Valley shot the lights out in their first round win over Cumberland Gap but found the going tough against Grainger County.
The second seed from District 2 prevailed 70-36 on Monday in the semifinals, eliminating the Warriors, the last team standing from District 1.
It’s sort of a shocker not to see a District 1 team reach the final or the state tournament. Elizabethton finished the year 13-16 ending their dominance over the past decade.
East won the league despite losing some key players off last year’s team but had their hopes crushed in a first round region loss at home. Grainger County, Greeneville and Chuckey-Doak made District 2 the much tougher District this year.
So what is the outlook for girls’ basketball next season in District 1?
East loses some key players off the league championship team that could open the door for several other squads.
Unicoi and Elizabethton have a good crop of players returning as does Sullivan South. But can they compete with the teams from District 2?
Happy Valley appears to be the preseason favorite on paper.
They return starters Kaitlyn Roberts, Adrianne Henegar, Bailey McGee and Tianna Long and freshman standout Sha Whitson. The Warriors also have a pair of outstanding incoming freshmen that they can add to the mix.
Johnson County will be in a major rebuilding stage and it might take a couple of years before fans can see dividends. Only time will tell.
It might take some time to reach the current status of Grainger County, Greeneville and Chuckey-Doak ladies basketball.
They now wear the label of “queens” of the court in Region 1.
Baseball skipper Pete Pavusek and head softball coach Angela Blevins are currently trying to mold their teams into shape for the home opener.
The Lady Longhorns will take the field next weekend for some scrimmage games at Wing Deer Park. The junior varsity will play on Friday and the varsity will see action on Saturday.
The conference jamboree will be held at Elizabethton on March 7. They end the preseason with a pair of games at Cherokee on March 11 before kicking off the season on March 13.
The Lady Longhorns currently have 20 players participating in the softball program.